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Julian Assange, Charles Barron and strange alliances

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is beyond the grasp of British authorities as long as he is holed up in Ecuador's London embassy, the government said Wednesday. But he faces arrest if he steps outside. (June 20)

Lest anyone doubt the truth of the old saying that "politics makes strange bedfellows," consider the strangeness of two recent pairings.

First, the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has endorsed a black New York City councilman, Charles Barron, in the Democratic primary to fill the soon-to-be vacant House of Representatives seat now occupied by Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn). In making the endorsement, Duke said that while he disagreed with Barron on some things, "I certainly agree with Barron that Israel is the worst rogue terrorist state on Earth." Barron has refused to discuss Duke's endorsement, but a spokesman for his opponent, Assemb. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), denounced Duke's remarks.

Then there's Julian Assange. The maestro of Wikileaks is trying mightily to avoid extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual molestation and rape (allegations he's denied), so he's taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Why Ecuador? Assange had a TV talk show for awhile, and when he interviewed Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, the two apparently got on famously.

The talk show, it should be noted, is carried on a network called Russia Today that is funded by the Kremlin, hardly a paragon of the openness Assange so vocally espouses. Then again, Ecuador's president has been working to suppress freedom of the press in his own country.

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Earlier this year the publisher of an Ecuadorean newspaper, facing three years behind bars for supposedly defaming Correa, took refuge in the Panamanian embassy in Quito and was eventually granted asylum. So Correa presumably knows how these things work.

Tags: charles barron , daniel akst , politics , wikileaks

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